Classic work famously translated by John Dryden / THU 5-21-20 / Lewis Taste of Country Cooking writer / Classic gin grenadine cocktail / Fix for shortsightedness

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Constructor: Andrew Kingsley

Relative difficulty: Easy (untimed)

THEME: RED CROSS (37D: Organization with three Nobel Peace Prizes ... or what "corrects" the answer to each of the starred clues) — theme answers appear to contain incorrect colors, but the "correct" color is arrived at by the addition of (the letter string) "RED," which CROSSes each "wrong" color, and thus "corrects" it:

Theme answers:
  • 16A: *Sycophant (GREEN-NOSER) (i.e. "brown-noser"— GREEN + "RED" (from PREDATOR) = brown)
  • 27A: *Classic gin-and-grenadine cocktail (WHITE LADY) (i.e. "pink lady" — WHITE + "RED" (from FREDDY) = pink)
  • 44A: *Military medal (BLUE HEART) (i.e. "Purple Heart" — BLUE + "RED" (from REDEEM) = purple)
  • 59A: *Annual Florida football game (YELLOW BOWL) (i.e. "Orange Bowl" — YELLOW + "RED" (from REDO) = orange)
Word of the Day: EDNA Lewis, "The Taste of Country Cooking" writer (48A) —
Edna Lewis (April 13, 1916 – February 13, 2006) was a renowned American chef, teacher, and author who helped refine the American view of Southern cooking. She championed the use of fresh, in season ingredients and characterized Southern food as fried chicken (pan, not deep-fried), pork, and fresh vegetables – most especially greens. She wrote and co-wrote four books which covered Southern cooking and life in a small community of freed slaves and their descendants. (wikipedia)
• • •

Very much liked this theme. I liked this theme while I was solving and I double-liked it when I got to the revealer. "Good revealer," I have written in the margins of this puzzle. It's a revealer I *probably* should've seen coming, but I don't tend to think ahead like that when I'm solving. My thought process was something along the lines of "oh, this first set of circles is RED, 'cause red + green = brown ... oh, they're *all* RED, that makes this a lot easier, but still enjoyable ... ohhhh, RED CROSS, of course. Good one." The theme was easy to pick up and, once picked up, very easy to complete. Knowing the themers would all have colors in them was a huge help, and luckily I was familiar with all the theme answers, even the "pink lady," which is probably (no, certainly) the least commonly known of the bunch (though I don't think of it as obscure). Good idea, good execution, good revealer—as far as the theme goes, this one very much succeeds.

The fill was certainly less enjoyable, and I don't know if this is because the grid was under a good deal of thematic pressure from the "RED" element, or if, you know, it just wasn't as polished as it could be. That ECOLAW IDES EER bit up top is rough—I have three frowny faces in the margins there.. And the THE in THE NBA is pretty horrid, especially coming on the heels of yesterday's THE ARMY—the arbitrary THE-ing of answers feels slightly out of control right now, and I'd like it to stop. THENBA is likely to be one of the more significant time-sucks in this puzzle for solvers, and it's not a great feeling to find out that you've been struggling because the puzzle decided to throw in a random THE for no good reason.

Otherwise, there's not a lot of cringey stuff, but a lot of it is on the overly-common side, for sure. I can't believe we haven't retired EDEL, which is paradigmatic crosswordese. Unless you solve crosswords regularly and/or are really really Really into Henry James (whom EDEL biographized over five frickin' volumes), this is not a name you're gonna know. He died in the late '90s, and was never a household name to begin with. He just has Good Letters (seriously, if you construct, there will come a time when you're like, "Damn, EDEL would work perfectly here ..."). Whenever I see his name now (which is rare these days, thank you, constructors) I think "oh come on." It's a mothball answer for sure. But here, at least, there seems to be a good reason for his appearance, i.e. he's right in the thick of a color crossing; the way the grid is built, it would be very hard to replace EDEL with anything else. So I guess if you're the constructor, you offer up EDEL as a sacrifice to OOXTEPLERNON, the God of Bad Short Fill, and hope that He blesses you with an otherwise successful puzzle. Today, I think the sacrifice was probably worth it. Full disclosure, though: I am likely to be warmly disposed to any puzzle that is willing, with a straight face, to refer to a Dryden translation of Virgil as "famous" (1D: Classic work famously translated by John Dryden). As I wrote in the answer to that clue (AENEID), I looked up from my comfy chair to my own copy of said translation on my bookshelf and was well pleased (didn't see any EDELs there, though, alas ...)

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. 42A: Alternative to O is AB, not TYPE AB. Alternative to TYPE O is TYPE AB. Randomly throwing "type" in the answer absolutely destroys clue/answer equivalency. It would be like if you clued THENBA as [NFL alternative]. If one is being posited as an "alternative" to the other, then the phrasing needs to be parallel—no gratuitously added words. Boooooo! That is all. Wait, one more thing: the plural of elk is elk, not ELKS (57D: Cougars' prey). That is all.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Loren Muse Smith 3:01 AM  

I enjoyed this idea just as much as a similar Sunday that Tracy Gray and Jeff Chen did a few years ago. This one is different what with its only RED additive and the perfect reveal. Loved it.

Tough to get any traction for a while since the fill-in-the-blanks didn’t help. Thought “soy” before OAT, but I didn’t write it in. It’s so hard to keep up with the kind of milk we’re supposed to be drinking – no more almond milk, right? It’s like bad for some reason?

Just as hard as the proper milk issue is keeping up with the kind of language that we’re supposed to avoid. I felt guilty writing in WHITE LADY, wondering if that will somehow be offensive. I swear, when it comes to ability, race, age, looks, using *any* language to depict that stuff has me all jumpy. I’m so unwoke that it feels like I’m linguistically blindfolded, groping around a room of words feeling for the ones that won’t offend anybody.

“Ropes” before RODEO. Utterly defensible. And I agree with Rex about the plural ELKS. My first thought for the cougar prey was "teen". But then I realized that'd probably be illegal, that cougars go more for 20-30 somethings?

And for those newbies here who still don’t know the ropes about this (or any) comments section . . . please don’t feed the TROLLS. When I first started here, someone came on and wrote that, and I had no idea what it meant. Both an oldish person and a Luddite, I didn’t even know what a TROLL was. I’m telling ya – those drive-by snipes made here by the anonymice. . . do not take the bait. Just completely ignore them and maybe they’ll slither off to pee all over some other site.

I didn’t mind THE NBA. I did notice that you’d pronounce THE MBA exactly the same way and kept going back and whispering it to confirm. Confirmed.

It’s so weird that we spell it BAE. I guess we’re just truncating babe and being mindful of the spelling. You’d think we’d spell it bay.

Ok. So yesterday I was in the car listening to my mix ITunes downloaded whatever, and I pulled up to a light as the Queen of the Night aria from was playing. As is my wont, I turned up the volume – not too much to be obvious- and hoped that the car next to me would notice. Notice that this fancy person was listening to fancy music. I always stare ahead trying to look lost in thought, mindlessly singing along. . .Meine Tochter nimmermehr. . . willing the person next to me to see and be impressed. I always go for a faintly sad inscrutable vibe. I never know if it works ‘cause executing a confirming side glance would break the spell. Hah. I think I sound like Diana Damrau, but I’m pretty sure it’s more like this.

Anyhoo, yesterday I was wondering if an aria is just a sung soliloquy. Turns out it is. Cool.

Speaking of highbrow stuff, I spent a year one night in Kobe watching a NOH performance. It’s like this Japanese guy (Kan'ami) looked over at our most inaccessible operas and said Hold my beer. If you’re ever offered the opportunity to see a NOH play, either study the damn thing for a year leading up or just opt to go into a closet and stab your kneecaps with a plastic fork.

Brian 3:27 AM  

Highly enjoyable solve. Clever double theme answers with the addition of red to correct the colors in the across clues and the letters "RED"in the down clues.

Once I realized the theme, it was smooth sailing. This is the kind of theme that makes me feel smarter than I am!

chefwen 3:27 AM  

I’m really enjoying this weeks puzzles.

Get the RED bit early on and filled all those puppies in. With YELLOW BOWL the light switch flipped on. My biggest problem was at 16A.
Kept reading Sycophant but my brain was telling me psychopath and I couldn’t remember what green and red turned into. I am seriously loosing it.

With puzzle partners last minute help we finished.

Loved it.

Phil 3:52 AM  

JFK library architect would be IMP not PEI.

Kennedy library architect would be PEI. He is always referred to as I.M.Pei as JFK is not usually just ‘Kennedy’ nevertheless it was a broken crossword rule I thought.

So many buildings to clue why err with it? Bad editing no?

But loved the puzzle. don’t know podcaster MARC so DNF on the ‘c’

jae 4:15 AM  

Mostly easy except for the UPTO/PRE/GROWTH area which was pretty tough. Got the theme early which helped. Liked it.

@LMS - According to my Gen Z grandkids BAE = Before Anyone Else, that said, the urban dictionary recognizes both definitions.

Frantic Sloth 5:48 AM  

Starting with (temporary) errors and nits:

anTe before UPTO
acH before UGH
ROpEs before RODEO
AdD before AID

I don't know about anyone else, but whenever I see "Gotcha!" my first reaction is not understanding something, it's more about getting caught "red-handed" or being exposed as a fraud...

Like every fair and relevant question the media ever threw at Sarah Palin, and not the distant cousin of Fargo speak's "you betcha."

Just reading that word with all its exclamation pointiness gives me a little start and makes me want to look over my shoulder.
No. I'm not feeling guilty about that second bagel with a little extra schmear.

Not a fan of ELKS.
Supposedly it's acceptable to pluralize ELK as ELKS, but that's just UGHly. What's next - deers? Sheeps? Yous? (Everyone knows that's youse or youz or even youze.)

And YET...I really dug this puzzle.
A theme that took a little effort to figure out, but also required feats of color math to be performed in my head and without a (hair?)net. This provided just enough teeth to keep me from flying all around the puzzle and just plunking in the themers with one eye open and my hands tied behind my back.
Okay that's a tiny exaggeration, but really not that far off from the usual themes we've been getting on the reg. (yesterday's example excepted)

This was fun. Fun! Fun!

Simply mahvelous!
More, please!

@webwinger (from yesterday) I notice you have a fondness for film noir. Do you by any chance catch Eddie Muller's "Noir Alley" on TCM, Saturdays at midnight or Sundays at 10a.m? If not, I recommend it highly. The movies are worthy enough, but his intros and post-film remarks are fascinating and loaded with all kinds of behind-the-scenes/ backstory/movie trivia goodies.

sf27shirley 6:10 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:11 AM  

The red/yellow cross in the orbit of UNSEAT makes me hopeful.

Lewis 6:30 AM  

I left the puzzle not only grateful for an enjoyable solve, but very impressed with the construction, squeezing in those four crossings plus a revealer (which crossed one of the theme answers!). Bravo on the clever theme and pulling it off, Andrew!

The puzzle has a mini-theme of double E's, and in some random research after my solve, I learned that the opposite of red is cyan. Then wondered if that is something everyone knows, and I just entered the human race, or if it is indeed a somewhat arcane fact and cool thing to know.

As with yesterday's puzzle, once the theme was clear, the puzzle became much easier, even with the fair amount of thorny cluing it had. I think this would have been better with the REDs unshaded (or uncircled) --the reveal of RED CROSS is enough to uncover what is going on. Would have made this puzzle pitch-perfect for Thursday.

BC 6:40 AM  

The plural of “elk” (animal) is elk, as you noted. When I hear “elks,” I picture a bunch of old men in matching bowling shorts.

pabloinnh 7:05 AM  

Got the theme with the GREENNOSER cross, saw another one, and thought, hmmm, I wonder if REDCROSS is in here somewhere, and sure enough, there it was, near the end of all things, as it should have been.

Some proper names and pop culture that was news to me, but fair enough from crosses.

Yeah 57D should have been "_____Club". The BPOE sponsored our city league basketball team once many years ago and when we won the whole thing they invited us for dinner at the local club. There I witnessed a couple of rituals that I am not privileged to share, but they would have made a less mature person than myself laugh out loud. I remained composed and merely chortled into my elbow.

Impressive stuff, AK. Thanks for the fun.

Diver 7:08 AM  

A very enjoyable Thursday puzzle. I don't think it was necessary to circle the REDS; leave us to discover that by ourselves or with the help of the revealer if we haven't gotten it by then. Completely agree about ELKS; that should have been clued as a fraternal organization.

kitshef 7:10 AM  

Theme was aces – really neat idea, well executed. Would have been even better without the stupid circles.

Did not like the cluing on some of the short stuff. PRE and HER, ONO and EST, TYPE AB all deserved better. Also did not like ELKS with its extraneous ‘S’

It’s been a fun week, so far.

Frantic Sloth 7:34 AM  

After reading Rex's review I'm more convinced than ever that there is a pod in his backyard. Lately, several of his write-ups have been positively Pollyannaesque-ishly glowing. Freaky.

@LMS As usual, your comment tickled me PINK, LADY. I thought the high point would have been your "cARIA" story...until I read your "just say NOH" review. Hilarious imagery of you as a closeted kneecap stabber, which again (as someone noted yesterday - sorry, but I forget who!) brings to mind the missing story of your vinegar-toting, naked trespasser friend. Hint hint.
And if I may paraphrase Alanis, it's like ten thousand knives when all you need is a spork.

@Lewis 630am I agree with you on the circles/shading absence making me fonder of this puzzle. But, as Steven Wright would say "You can't have everything. Where would you put it?"

Now, at the risk of enduring another slap 'n' skulk, I must ask a question that's been careening through my brain lately: What does POC stand for? Not the "people of color" thing, but as it pertains to a crossword clue/answer. I thought perhaps it might stand for "piece of cake", but then someone (again, apologies - I forget who said it) made a recent comment about an entry not only being POC, but WOC. And I thought Wedge of Cake? Work of Cake? Wheelbarrow of Cake??
Great. Now I want cake.
Anyway...I am throwing myself on the mercy of the commentunity©LMS for some enlightenment here.
Many thanks.

JHC 7:35 AM  

I also loved this theme. But I think we need a term for taking two perfectly ordinary, acceptable pieces of short fill, and turn them into a Natick by cluing them both with obscure proper nouns and crossing them at an uninferable letter. A super-Natick? Or how about a PRE/HER?

Anonymous 7:37 AM  

THENBA and ELKS were terrible for all the obvious reasons.

Anonymous 7:41 AM  

Okay, I give up. What the heck is OOXTEPLERNON????

smalltowndoc 7:41 AM  

I liked this theme because, again, it really helped me complete the puzzle. For instance, as one who doesn’t partake of alcoholic beverages, I had no idea what a Pink Lady is. But it sounded like something real, making WHITE the only choice to begin 27A.

I don’t understand 42A as clued. TYPE AB is not an "alternative" to (Type) O. It’s the opposite (so to speak) in that the former has A and B RBC surface antigens while the latter has neither. So, for the wording of the clue, I would have opted for an alternative for "alternative".

On a number of occasions, I have seen criticisms about Janis Ian’s hit, IRONIC, because the lyrics aren’t examples of irony. Any thoughts from the grammarians among us?

mmorgan 7:49 AM  

Good puzzle, though seeing the RED pattern made it much easier. But my lesson of the day is that the plural of elk is elk, something I have gotten through life till now without knowing, and something I would never have known had it not been for this blog, and for that I am grateful.

webwinger 7:54 AM  

Whee! Literally shouted aha! after simultaneously completing 37D and realizing what was going on at 59A. Could not ask for more from a Thursday puzzle. Time a bit under average; only wish it could have gone on longer.

Just checked @Rex. Glad he liked it! I have no idea why, but Leon EDEL somehow crept into my undergraduate education. Could never get through anything written by Henry James; maybe that set me up to admire someone who could not only read everything James wrote but write even more words to capture his life.

Favorite answer was GREENNOSER: Funny to imagine unREDdened. A great word with the proper tint. Have long been intrigued by the sadly unsung color brown. (Nobody’s favorite...) It’s not a spectral hue (no such thing as brown light) but an unsaturated low luminance (“dark”) version of orange—mix red and yellow pigments, then darken with complementary blue, or start by mixing yellow and blue to get green and add complementary red, as per the puzzle. (Tan is analogous for spectral yellow.)

Other such colors are either referred to as dark (green, blue, red) or have names, like forest or navy or maroon, taken from objects that are so tinted. Probably because of its ubiquity in nature, brown gets a real color name in every language. There’s something similar going on with pink as opposed to “light” green or blue.

kitshef 8:00 AM  

@Frantic Sloth - POC = Plural of Convenience. Basically means adding an 's' to a word to help fill your grid. Anoa Bob is very condemning of this practice.

@Anon 7:41 - OOXTEPLERNON is the God of Bad Short Fill, just as Rex says. Taken from the October 30 2009 NYT puzzle. See Rex's FAQs for more info.

@smalltowndoc - Alanis Morisette, rather than Janis Ian (that's quite a miss!). Some of the lyrics are examples of irony, but not all. The ones that are ironic generally illustrate one particular definition of irony, that of a disconnect between expected outcomes and actual outcomes.

CDilly52 8:02 AM  

On singing along (at volume) with opera (hi, @LMS): a. I thought I was the only person who engaged in the snooty old(er) person at traffic light increases volume on opera and sings along ploy. Glad to know I am not, and; b. Sometimes people do notice and there are consequences.

So, in my first adult life, I earned my keep as a professional musician. I triple majored in mu7-.sic at Illinois: flute, voice and music history. Could not decide between being a musicologist/chamber music performer so I just covered the field. Dream was to write the “modern” treatise on historically correct performance practices of Baroque and Renaissance music while moonlighting as a performer. . . And live in Europe. Life intervened but I had a good run in the USA. I also found the perfect best friend and life partner and together we raised a brilliant, compassionate and beautiful daughter and I performed and taught until life intervened again in my late thirties.

In addition to singing at stop lights, I would often practice during my frequent two hour drive between Tulsa and Norman. Twice got pulled over and once ticketed for “failing to devote full time and attention toon to driving.” The trooper that time was certain I was arguing with a passenger and made me “exit the vehicle” while he looked. Upon finding no one, I truly believe he was contemplating a psych hold. Anyway, that’s what can happen when you play the radio loudly, sing along enthusiastically while (allegedly) failing to devote full time and attention. I still engage in the stop light performances although I no longer have the range or facility for “Una voce poco fa.” Fun to watch the reaction of the guy sitting next to me blaring his rap, though.

Ah, the puzzle. Tried for a good 30 minutes late last night but could not gain entry anywhere so I gave up and went to sleep. Morning brought me gin and grenadine and “oh, a pink lady.” Hmmmm. I had FREDDY, my first gimme, and when I saw that RED was shaded in, the light bulb when on. Once I got the other themes, and had some coffee, I gained enough entry into the proverbial wheelhouse that I was able to steer my way through the remainder of this absolutely delightful Thursday offering. Well done, Mr. Kingsley! As a friend of mine says, “Happy Friday eve to you.” Keep your social distance!

Tim 8:05 AM  

Oh my, a discussion of the bounds of irony might take more pages than the Edel oeuvre

Joe R. 8:19 AM  

@jae Before Anyone Else is a backronym for BAE, it started out as an abbreviation for babe or baby.

Unknown 8:23 AM  

Great theme. Good fill. My only wish would be a bit more flair to the clues. Toss in a couple worthy of a ? At least...its Thursday.

smalltowndoc 8:25 AM  

@kitshef Yikes! What an embarrassing unforced error. Especially for a long time owner of "Jagged Little Pill"!
Note to self: Don’t post comments while half asleep.

JEPlanet 8:26 AM  

Such a fun solve, though I struggled a bit with the UPTO/UGH section. Love it when a crossword makes me laugh early in the morning! Looked at THEN BA for at least 10 seconds in puzzlement as not a big sports fan--

QuasiMojo 8:30 AM  

Fun puzzle but over too fast.

Isn't it THE Red Cross? When I google Red Cross all I get is American Red Cross. The international one is Red Cross Society. Or some such. I'm only mentioning it because I find it odd that there is no default "Red Cross" only "organization."

Perhaps the predatory cougar in question is trolling the more youthful members of the Elks?

Silly to whine about EDEL when we are constantly subjected to the likes of ELIE, ELIA, ELOI et alii. Which reminds me, I was shocked that OLLA was not accepted in yesterday's SB.

I agree with the fellow above about the J.F.K. clue. P.E.I. to me means Prince Edward Islands.

Jon Alexander 8:40 AM  

Like the theme, fill was UGG...

I do have a problem with the THE_____ answers as well, but it also bugs my in real life too. Say in the NFL and when they are doing player bios at the beginning of the game, every single damn one of them tags on a “The” to the name of their university. Yes, I understand that some of the schools official names begin with a “The”, but you would never confuse Ohio State with any other school by that name (if there is one), and the way they all emphasize the “The” grates on me...okay my two cents

OffTheGrid 8:45 AM  

NBA without "THE" would work for the clue Jazz group. But "THE" doesn't seem egregious. We use the "THE" in normal speech. We say "He's good enough for the NBA", not "He's good enough for NBA". Likewise for The Army.
"She plans to join The Army", not "She plans to join Army". Right now I'm watching more than one British TV series and it's notable that nobody is ever in the hospital. But some people are in hospital.

Jeremy 8:47 AM  

Thank you! I thought there'd be more of an outrage at this. I'm guessing many readers of this blog are old enough to have lived through LBJ's presidency and just filled it in without realizing the Natick for those of us not aware of the names of a 60s president's dogs? Or perhaps live in Canada? Regardless, a very poorly thought-out section of the grid.

Anonymous 8:47 AM  

ROONE, FREDDY, EDEL and EDNA really tripped me up today. Not in my wheelhouse.

Jon 8:48 AM  

New Zealand music trivia - video of Split Enz "I see Red" in Rex's blog. It was Neil Finn's first songwriting effort, his next was "I got you", which made it to the US. Neil then formed his own band, "Crowded House", which toured a number times in the US with their big hit "Don't dream its over".

pabloinnh 8:51 AM  

@Frantic Sloth-

@kitshef has already covered the POC explanation.

I don't blame you for not recognizing WOC, since I just made it up the other day to mean "Word Of Convenience". I don't even remember the word in question right now but I think I was implying that the constructor had invented some weird combination of letters just to go with the crosses, resulting in something totally unknown to me (c.f.-Spelling Bee).

Barney 8:55 AM  

@JHC: couldn't agree more.

I suppose part of the problem is that I don't understand how to clue an abbreviation or acronym. When I read "L.B.J." I assumed the answer would have been something like JRT for Jack Russell Terrier.

Coming at it from that angle, I figured the following:

HAR: simple enough to clue this answer so at least one of the two crosses is not obscure.
HER/PRE: Same in spades
PRO: Same.
HUR/PRU: Same.
PRY: Same.

That left PRI/HIR as the only crosses with very few options that would have been less obscure.

I suppose the names of LBJ's dogs are something everyone just knows. Unfortunately, given that LBJ wasn't even president while I was alive, I didn't know that.

Jstarrracewalker 8:56 AM  

In Ancient Rome the word for “day” was “dies”. At least it was in my high school Latin class.

TJS 8:58 AM  

"Morning brought me gin and grenadine" would be a great opening line to a short story.

Cicled "red"s added nothing to the puzzle. Would have been much cooler if someone here had pointed it out. I know I would never have spotted it. Here's hoping Friday and Saturday can salvage the week.

Petsounds 8:59 AM  

@LMS and @CDilly2: One of the only get-outa-the-house pleasures of this pandemic season has been driving my car along empty country roads, singing at top volume and going nowhere. Not opera, though. Brittany Howard, Maroon 5, Nathaniel Rateliff. Hitting the red lights back in town, I accompany myself with percussion on the steering wheel. I've never looked to see whether anyone was noticing the grey-hair bashing it out with "I Need Never Get Old," but one day one of my pre-sets played my favorite songs by all three of those artists in a row, and I thought I should buy a lottery ticket. Except I wouldn't even know how to buy a lottery ticket.

I liked the theme of this puzzle a lot, especially since I got GREENNOSER and the whole NW corner right off the bat and thought this was going to be an easy Thursday. The theme answers were easy, but the rest of the puzzle? Not so much. Unlike Rex, I don't have any copies of The Aeneid on my bookshelves, the "THE" in THENBA threw me, and even ARABIA was a problem because it's either SAUDI Arabia or some other region. The RIM/MBA cross held me up for a while too. Ended with an average time.

Boo hiss to ELKS and TYPEAB and ECOLAW. When I Googled the last of those, I found "Eco Law" as "economics law" and someone's Internet name on Trip Advisor.

Lorelei Lee 8:59 AM  

I'm starting to worry that not working is affecting my brain. I'm too relaxed. Maybe tension was all that was holding it together.

I did see not the trick here. And here's how much I love color mixing. There's a tool in PhotoShop that lets you click on a color in an image and then tells you the red/green/blue (RGB) color mix. With nothing to do one day I analyzed about 30 colors in one of Monet's water lily paintings and analyzed the gradations of greens and blues and browns and played with them like a box of super coolCrayolas. Another time I analyzed my own skin tones. Dumb stuff like that.

The first thing I got was Green Noser, which I immediately looked up. It's a thing (sucking up to environmental types). Then I got White Lady, looked it up, it's a thing (gin, triple sec, egg white). Ditto Blue Heart (albeit for law enforcement). By the time I got to Yellow Bowl all I thought was, OK, Texas, whatever.

At that point I was in a geezer snit that the color world was getting away from me and I turned off the light and went to sleep. Maybe it's that I shouldn't be doing the puzzle in the wee hours. Or maybe the lobes are going soft. I don't know.

@Ms. Muse Smith (hand raise), I went to YouTube and watched some NOH. Woo.

TJS 9:00 AM  

Anyone sense irony in the 51 down pairing?

OffTheGrid 9:11 AM  

I was alive 3 presidents before LBJ and I didn't know the dog's name. There was something about his picking his dogs up by the ears. Anyone else recall that?

Birchbark 9:11 AM  

@LMS (3:01), @CDilly52 (8:02) -- re drive-by opera: in her car-seat days of yore, my daughter and I sometimes sang the Queen of the Night's ferocious argument with her daughter Tamina (just the a-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha section) from The Magic Flute. I safely dropped out before the high part, but my daughter went for it with vengeance. No matter what led up to it, it really cleared the air.

Anyone who thinks puzzles don't influence our thinking and actions should consider 44D. I would never have thought to make BRAISEd lamb shanks for dinner tonight, especially in this prime grilling season. But now it's a foregone conclusion, and it will be good.

jdonhowe 9:15 AM  

Agree with smalltowndoc: type AB is as much an alternative to O as hydroxychloroquine is to vaccine. At first I rejected answer, based on rule(?) against multiple clues in same arena (i.e., 13 across) in a themeless; then, given tie in of Red Cross with blood banks, gave a pass.

Nancy 9:16 AM  

An amazing feat of construction that's also a real treat for the solver. I was slow to see the theme because the hardest RED CROSS comes first. RED and GREEN make BROWN? I may be the only person on the blog who didn't know that, but I didn't know that. (Though perhaps I should have known that. My first and last foray into oil painting was around age 17, I think, when three hours whizzed by as I worked on a "landscape". I was "in the zone". My focus was beyond intense. Time completely disappeared...

Unfortunately the painting was not also "in the zone". When my creative juices finally ceased flowing and I looked at my what I had wrought, I saw one hideous mishmash. I think it was mostly BROWN.)

Back to the puzzle: My biggest sticking point was not being able to reconcile the cross of HADES, which I knew was right, and ROpEs (for "metaphor for experience") which I also *knew* was right. The "S" in ROPES gave me ST LOUIS (as in CARDINALS) for the team named after its official state bird. What could possibly be wrong with that? Only much later did I correct to RODEO/ORIOLES.

A clever and well-crafted puzzle. That makes three winners in a row this week.

Chim cham 9:17 AM  

Great solve. Great puzzle. Yadda yadda. The theme wasn’t especially difficult - I had it figured out after GREENNOSER as some of the other posters have mentioned - but to classify the whole thing as “easy” is one of those moments when I think OFL is just trolling us. A good many of you said as much so I’ll just chalk it up to different strokes, but I really feel like there was some majorly wonky clueing in this one. Enjoyed all the more for the challenge, but... easy? Straight up “easy”?? I must be losing my grip on things.

bauskern 9:37 AM  

@ Chim cham, Yeah he said this was "easy," but he also didn't post his time. There are tons of studies that people habitually underestimate the amount of time it takes to complete a task. So I'm guessing it took him longer to solve than he realizes, and this was probably more an easy-medium puzzle.
Personally I loved it. No problem with THENBA, and thought that was a *great* clue, although if you're not a sports fan, perhaps a tad tough. The only answer I didn't care for is ECOLAW. I have a masters in environmental education, and have been involved in environmental issues since I was a teenager in the 1970s, and I have *never* heard that term. If it is a real term (which I doubt), nobody uses it.

Z 9:40 AM  

Rex pretty much covered it, interesting theme pouring libations to the great Xword God OOXTEPLERNON.

My huge time suck was pROfit before GROWTH. As I crawled around trying to see what else besides pROfit might be an entrepreneur’s goal I briefly hoped LBJ had a dog named “cat.” I miss Asta.

It is a continued failing of dot coms to seek GROWTH instead of pROfit. GROWTH brings in investors, pROfit creates sustainability. I’d argue that if the goal is GROWTH what you really are is a profitEER, not an entrepreneur.

Regarding BAE - It’s from African-American English, popularized by rap music into teen culture. The “Before Anyone Else” backronym appears a decade after its first internet appearance (the Urban Dictionary in 2004). I had to look at a half dozen sources to put together that much info, and the best sites all put qualifiers on their info.

Carola 9:42 AM  

Ver-r-y slow on the uptake here, the benefits of which were that the puzzle lasted longer and that the dawn of understanding was all the more rewarding. An early wrong assumption (oblivious as I was to the RED CROSS) was that the second word of the theme answers needed to be changed, to get WHITE Russian, for example. I also got fouled up in ROpEs, leading me to reject HEART. And I agree with @jae that the GROWTH area was tough. Never saw the reveal coming so enjoyed the presto-chango unveiling when suddenly all made sense.

@QuasiMojo 8:30, I try "olla" every time it's possible, in order to see if it's finally been admitted to the fold.

@Loren and @CDilly52, re: singing along with opera in the car - would that I could! (a. sing; b. have access to a radio station that broadcast SOLOS as well as the once-a-week Met performances). Our local public radio management holds that "people don't like vocal music," and some years back there was an uproar when the station announced plans to eliminate the Met broadcasts because the audience was too small (opera fans were vocal enough to repel that effort). They did, however, go ahead and substitute a recording for a live "Tristan" broadcast because the earlier starting time would have preempted the noon ag report.

LaurieRo 9:57 AM  

I really liked this puzzle, except for clues to ELKS, TYPE AB, and TOO HOT. If scalding is your goal, it’s not TOO hot.

RooMonster 10:01 AM  

Hey All !
I'm with @Nancy on not knowing RED+GREEN=BROWN. Weird.

A neat puz. Color Mixing. Sucks that ORANGE BOWL and YELLOW BOWL have the same letter count, so I was messed up down there for a bit.

The puz in NYTs site had Green shaded squares for the Down REDs. Should've been light RED, no?

One-letter DNF, PRu/HuR, since I didn't know either, and went with @M&A's suggestion of "When in doubt, put in a U." Thinking maybe LBJ named his dog after Ben-Hur.

No one mentioned the two Blood O clues. The TYPE AB one, but also RARER one. I thought it was odd, should've clued RARER differently, but apparently no one but me cares.

RONDOS seemed random.

One F
One ROO ☺️

burtonkd 10:04 AM  

Cougars' prey had me looking for a four letter word for younger men, then I remembered where I was doing this puzzle. (Today I wrote before reading comments ala Nancy, so I see this has been covered)

I could read Rex's column in my mind doing the puzzle: "So a color just changes???? Why even do this??? Mixing red with other colors to get the correct color for common words - how did this pass the editorial process? I mean how hard is it to find words that have colors in them (checks wikipedia)? fill in the rest.
BUT, from Machiavelli, one way to stay in power is to be unpredictable so that you can't be easily replaced.

For the record, enjoyed the puzzle and write-up. It took longer than the Easy designation would imply for me. PPP not at the tip of my brain.

@LMS, interesting about THENBA and THEMBA being pronounced the same: The B sound involves closing the lips, which is the main difference between N and M. When speaking quickly and non-carefully, the N could go by so fast as to make it disappear into the B, making it sound like an M. (Or what you said much more succinctly)

Since someone asked about Marc Maron, he is a main figure in podcasting. He is a standup comic and was a host on Air America, the ill-fated attempt at liberal radio to be a counterpart for Rush, etc. He is known for very honest and personal self analysis and soul searching at the beginning of his show, then a long form interview with a single interviewee, usually from comedy, film or music.
His troubled love life has long been a topic, so it was devastating to hear his most recent podcast where he describes the untimely death of his year long partner and film director Lynn Shelton, who seemed like the love of his life. It was so personal and raw, I felt guilty listening.

mathgent 10:08 AM  

On his blog, Jeff Chen colored the grid to show how the colors mix. Very neat.

I find “brown noser” too graphic. “Kiss ass” instead.

I’m not getting much joy out of crosswords these days. I’m doing them mostly so that I can enjoy the postings here. Very little sparkle outside of the Ulysses reference today, for example.

If I were the crossword editor, I would reject any puzzle with twenty or more Terrible Threes or less than a third longish entries (six letters or more.) This one fails both tests. Twenty-two three-letter entries and 24 out of 78 long.

GILL I. 10:11 AM  

Primo puzzle. Primary colors and memories of my first palette. But why, Andrew, did you shade in the theme answers....or was that Will? Would've been soooo much fancier without you pointing out your nifty little trick. Who doesn't love a GREEN NOSE?
Some are reminiscing about singing opera in the car while I'll just stick to what was once my passion. Unfortunately for me, it also involved about 6 zillion other people who were far better artists and I was just a little tomato in the salad. I think I still have my palette somewhere - filled with my color blobs.
Did you know you can make any color you want with just the primary ones? You do need some black and white, though.
I remember HIM and HER as beagles. I particularly remember LBJ picking up the pooches by the ears. I also think they died a really bad death. One of them swallowed a rock and the other got run over. Such is life.
"As Good as it Gets". was a wonderful movie. I really didn't know what OCD was until I saw the film. My husband told me he had an aunt who suffered mightily from it and everyone just poo pooed it saying that she was just eccentric. I wonder sometimes if I'm becoming one, what with the amount of times I wash my hands these days.
I think you can probably pluralize any word. I want to see "Of Mices and Men."
I always wanted to know why people would say "This isn't my first RODEO, you know." I prefer "I've been around the block a few times."
It's too early for a WHITE LADY - I would probably start to see pink elephants.
Thank you Andrew for a fun Thursday.

Kathy 10:14 AM  

Delightful theme!
I cottoned to the RED downs pretty quickly so went ahead and filled them in. I actually got YELLOWBOWL for the first themer and, even though I never heard of it, I let it be. I sure can’t keep up with all corporate re-naming of bowls and stadiums, so, as Rex would say, maybe this is a thing. I then toyed with purpleHEART, and that’s when the light bulb went off that we were mixing paint. I quickly mixed up some PINK and BROWN and was off to the races.

But isn’t the the plural of yes YESSES? And isn’t the plural of elk ELK? Also, too many THEs lately.
It took a couple lucky guesses to finish but overall it was easy for a Thursday.

I am generally neutral about a theme, not considering one necessary for a good puzzle. But for the last three days in a row, I can shamelessly declare that the themes have been the driving force of my enjoyment.

Ah, singing in the car! The cancellation of the spring, and most likely the fall season of my chorus has left a hole in my life. Not only the practices, but my favorite activity of tooling along random country roads belting out my alto parts with abandon. Sometimes I forget when my window is open that others may be giving me the side-eye when I come to a stop. Question to the many other singers on this blog, have any of your groups made their go-no go decisions for fall yet? Group singing presents more risks than mere group gathering and we are torn,

xyz 10:16 AM  

In the end - Very middle of the road. Took longer because I thought way too hard, just because Thursday sometimes takes extra energy.

I settled back into mindless mode and it flew.

burtonkd 10:16 AM  

@Lewis, you probably already know Cyan, Magenta and Yellow as the colors you buy to put into your color printer along with Black. If you google, you'll see there is a pretty deep rabbit hole on additive vs subtractive color mixing and how paint and light work differently. TVs use Blue, Red and Green, for instance.
Here is a one page explanation.

This, like how electricity works, is something I remember if shown, but not sure how much it is common knowledge.

RAD2626 10:17 AM  

Very fun puzzle for all the reasons cited. Did not cringe at all at THE NBA which fooled me for quite a bit. Wanted Octet or Combo and had no idea what a THENBA was. Maybe a group of ten. Did cringe a little at TOO HOT which is kind of (yellow + blue) paint.

In addition to the terrific Tracy Gray and Jeff Chen 2017 similar puzzle, Jim Horne at XWORDINFO links to a 2013 Liz Gorski puzzle that is a phenomenal color mixing feat of construction. I would provide the link but I am a Luddite. Sorry. But definitely worth looking at.

Frantic Sloth 10:19 AM  

Thank you @kitshef 800am and @pabloinnh 851am! Of course that makes perfect sense, further explaining my failure to suss it out myself.
And thank you again, pablo for self-identifying and adding the meaning of WOC. (c.f.-Spelling Bee INDEED! I'd better not start because I'll never stop kvetching about their acceptable/unacceptable word choices.)

@CDilly52 802am Picking my chin up from the floor after reading your story about that ticket-happy trooper. If anyone needed a psych hold in that scenario, it most certainly was not you - or your imaginary friend. πŸ˜‰πŸŽΆπŸ‘€

Mikey from El Prado 10:20 AM  

Fun puzzle, quick for a Thursday. Got the theme early with RED crossing WHITELADY to send me on my way (it pays to drink cocktails sometimes, but this one from bartending way back in college).
Loved some of the comments today...
First, Rex with another positive review. Nice.
And Frantic Sloth’s reference to Invasion of the Body Snatchers to explain Rex’s recent behavior was most excellent.
Phil’s catch of JFK/IMP vs Kennedy/PEI was good.
Agree with the rest on ELKS (BPOE clueing would be more appropriate) and THENBA. Ugh. Otherwise good stuff.

Nomi5imon 10:27 AM  

My 20-something daughter told me that “bae” stands for “Before Anyone Else.”

Nomi5imon 10:27 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Joker 10:31 AM  

@Mathgent 10:08, So you'd rather have your lips down there than your nose?

Newboy 10:36 AM  

Colorful clues like 10D & 51D were as delightful as Andrew’s theme. YESSES brought back happy memories of Darcy OBrian’s Joyce Seminar while on a sabbatical year at Claremont Graduate School in 1976. Good books delight and stay with you for a long time; color wheels, alas, recede in a hazy mist.

Lorelei Lee 10:38 AM  

@Webwinger, That's good stuff on color. Spectral hue will be my thought of the day. I love a rich red brown, especially in well- worn and polished leather. Shine gives brown depth I think.

@smalltowndoc, Not a grammarian but I over thought Irony in 2014. I'd read an article about how it took hold in Western thought post WWI because of the disillusionment with the savagery and futility of modern warfare (ya know, "The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori"). It picked up steam after WWII (think of Catch 22) and then zoomed after Viet Nam. This decade should make some outstanding contributions.

You'll find a lot written on the fine line between irony and sarcasm if you google it.

@OffTheGrid, Him and Her had those long flappy ears beagle ears. There's a pic of LBJ holding one of them in a standing position by its ears. He got a lot of flak from the animal people. Time to retire that clue.

@Mathgent, I've pledged to finish Ulysses by the end of this year. Reading an annotated version on line. Pretty much every sentence has a footnote.

@Z From yesterday, So many of those explanations aren't true. Thanks for doing the extra leg work.

CaryinBoulder 10:40 AM  

I enjoyed this quite a bit. Quickly filled in all the REDS and smiled when I figured out the theme trick. All went fairly smoothly until I bogged down for way too long in that central California area: UGH. RetrO ahead of RODEO, PRΓ‰ was a total mystery along with Lyndon’s dog. Finally got it all, though, but in a very pedestrian time.

I dredged Marc MARON out of some strange memory cell, since I don’t do podcasts. But it was a weird synchronicity this morning to see his name in a headline referring to the death of his partner in life and creativity, Lynn Sutton.

Whatsername 10:42 AM  

Liked and enjoyed the theme but the fill was no picnic. Didn’t take time to count but seemed like a lot of Propers, and some of them pretty obscure. I mean, the name of a president’s dog from over a half century ago? A cookbook author? And LESOTHO was brutal. But on the ASSET side, having all the themers use RED made it easier. It would be interesting and more challenging to see one done with a variety of color combinations. Maybe next time.

Only time I think of ELKS is the fraternal/social organization commonly found in many smaller communities. For several years, my in-laws were the grand pooh bahs of theirs and held court at all the dinners and dances. On the other hand, I think of Jack Nicholson’s OCD a lot lately, every time I wash my hands, sometimes soaping up more than once as he did. But at least I don’t use a new bar of soap every time.

It’s the third day in a row we had something a little out of the ordinary which I’m absolutely loving. Thanks Andrew. Hope you ace constructors keep them coming.

Barbara S. 10:50 AM  

I didn't get this theme for the longest time and kept thinking things like "Well, I've heard of the Orange Bowl/Purple Heart. I guess there's also a lesser-known football championship/military honor called the Yellow Bowl/Blue Heart." Why do millions of brain cells go dark at the same time? [Anyway, puzzle,] I [did finally] see your true colors/Shining through.

26D PRE (Canada's Grand-___ National Historic Site). OK, I admit it: I'm gloating evilly. I sometimes kvetch to my husband about how advantaged are all the American solvers, who automatically know things I don't even inkle.
So, when a clue/answer like this comes along, well, I like it. (I can bend enough to say that I see it was tough crossing LBJ's pooch, whose name I didn't know.)

8D IDES (Day in ancient Rome). Well, I guess. It's not the Latin word for "day" (hi, @Jstarrracewalker). It's a specific day. Each month had one, and it fell on either the 13th or 15th.

And while we're on the subject --

11D AENEID (Classic work famously translated by John Dryden). Rex, I, too, loved this one. About 100 years ago in Mr. Brown's Latin class, we translated vast tracts of The AENEID. This was fun at times and tedious at times, but I was always gripped by the story. So, as a veteran AENEID translator myself, can I borrow your copy?

I would also like to point out, however, that when I look up from my comfy chair to my bookshelf I see a copy of "Bloomsbury: House of Lions" by Leon EDEL, published 1979. I thought this a fascinating study. I know some of EDEL's views on Henry James are now thought wrong, but, hey, that's scholarship fer ya. At what point is it appropriate and desirable to take someone's name out of the crossword lexicon? Not easy to answer, but Wiki tells me that he died in 1997 and given that he was never famous (as Rex says), it may be time. But thumbs up for (much of) his scholarship.

@LMS, CDilly52, Petsounds, Birchbark, Carola, Kathy
I'm always singing like there's no one listening. Unfortunately for Mr. S, who's stuck in the house with me. I'll sing anything from opera to hit radio. Of late, I've been bursting into the Flower Duet from Lakme (because I just heard it as the soundtrack to a kite-flying video). But I need a partner -- any volunteers?

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

Entrepreneur is another word that's been co-opted. It's original meaning, for centuries, was to name a man who used Other People's Money to concoct a bidnezz. What he brought to the effort was some unique idea for the bidnezz, usually technical or inventive. He was a short-timer, ceding to the financiers after establishing the bidnezz, and taking his PROFIT. And thence on to another.

These days, it's used as a synonym for 'risk taker', but what with the shield of incorporation laws, he's risking nothing of his own. And, more often than not, the bidnezz has nothing to do with uniqueness or invention.

cf. snake oil salesman.

Hungry Mother 10:55 AM  

Color fun today. I had to wait until after my 13.1 mile run to get started and then I started with filling in the REDs. Color mixing soon became clear, but there was some tough fill to complete. Good use of brain power and soon it was done. Lovely puzzle! I learnt a new African country and I almost remember NOH.

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

Not Janis Ian. Alanis Morissette

kqrbob 10:59 AM  

Yesh to your Noh opinion.

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

Not Janis Ian. Alanis Morissette

Lewis 11:03 AM  

@burtonkd -- Thanks for the link! Interesting stuff...

Bax'N'Nex 11:04 AM  

THE NBA is pretty much the only way it is referred to, Mike.

Nancy 11:05 AM  

@TJS (9:00) Did I SEE the irony in the clue for ONO? Did I ever! Love that clue! I was poised to comment on it, but forgot.

@Lewis (6:11) -- Terrific observation! I wish they were positioned even closer together -- I had to go searching around for UNSEAT -- but you can't have everything.

@Frantic Sloth (5:48) -- Yes, absolutely. "Gotcha!" with an exclamation point doesn't mean I SEE. It means "Oh, boy, are you in trouble now!!!" I wish constructors would stop cluing I SEE that way.

@CDilly52 -- I find it so interesting that you're such a trained and accomplished musician who became a lawyer. My brother the law professor also has exceptional musical ability, though not the training that you've had. I've asked him why he didn't try for a musical career considering his exceptional musical ability and he replied that the world was full of people whose musical ability was far more exceptional than his.

SBpianist 11:16 AM  

So many great things in this post. Loren: I am with you. On everything. I am told “bae” stands for “before all else,” but this may also be apocryphal. “Noh drama” is, as advertised, “no drama” —or at least was for this untutored viewer. A plastic fork is not strong enough.

Nancy 11:18 AM  

@Barbara S (10:50) -- Oh, pick me! Pick me! Pick me! I don't "sing in the car" because I'm never in a car, but I always provide my own sound track walking around Central Park. When I had a severe case of laryngitis that made singing out of the question, I found myself unable to completely enjoy my walks. I know I've mentioned that before, many times, but I guess you missed it because you were too busy singing. So I forgive you. You can use the others on your list for opera. I only do the Habenera (sp?) and I don't know the words so I have to fake them and/or hum. But I do the American Songbook, theater songs, and folk music.

K. 11:26 AM  

Comic and interviewer Marc Maron was probably included in this puzzle because his late partner, film director Lynn Shelton, died this week, and he delivered a tribute to her in his latest podcast episode.

CT2Napa 11:30 AM  

This had to be easy -- got the happy music just past half an hour. Still didn't know the jazz group Then-ba. Then read Rex about THE NBA and couldn't remember seeing that clue -- personal DOOK.

Ann Hedonia 11:34 AM  

THENBA. I managed to solve it but had no idea what it meant. Now I do. Boo Hiss!

I did enjoy the theme today. Very easy puzzle for a Thursday.

Greg Bratone 11:40 AM  

Maybe its just me, but I felt that MARC, LEE, and ERNST as downs out of one 5-letter across was a little much. Just curious: does the average poster here know who MARC MARON is - or ERNST for that matter? (although ERNST would seem to be a little more significant and exposes a gap in my science education.) It also just doesn't seem quite right to expect people to know someone who is described as a "podcaster." *

On a brighter note, as an (extremely) amateur ornithologist one positive side effect of the recent chaos is an expanded chorus of neighborhood birds, especially song birds. I have a second-floor on a porch which overlooks a street that in the morning is a direct route to our public high school in one direction, and a direct route to the commuter rail station in the other.This normally produces brisk foot traffic for both the 7-9 A.M period and the 4-6 P.M. Now, its mostly empty both ways. Good for the birds - but no so hot for the other two-legged species.

* Kind of reminds me of how people came to be known as "graffiti artists." Somehow the word vandal, always seemed more accurate.

Ethan Taliesin 11:49 AM  

I disagree with Rex. Having TYPE in both the answer and the clue would be unacceptable.

Nice theme!

Also, and this has happened more than once, when "___ milk" is clued and I have "_AT" my mind goes directly to CAT (milk) right before I type the "O." What's wrong with me?

burtonkd 11:55 AM  

@Carola, Sirius satellite radio has an opera station and a couple of classical ones.

THENBA - I had a job editing faculty resumes at Manhattan School of Music and still remember the requirement to include the "the" in "The Juilliard School" as part of the official name.

brendal 11:58 AM  

Blue Heart? Military?

Lorelei Lee 11:59 AM  

Ok, this is my last post. I promise.

@Barbara S., I think our thought patterns may stagger along similar lines. On the changing scholarship thing, I've said for years that a liberal arts education ought to come with an expiration date. Discard after 10 years.

I just went to GoodReads to check out Bloomsbury: House of Lions, so thank you for my next read. It will help me avoid Ulysses.

Glow 12:06 PM  

I just couldn't get past my belief that shortsighted meant "lacking foresight," so I couldn't get LASIK - as I thought that was the cure for being nearsighted. Google says shortsighted is the British term for nearsightedness. You learn something new every day!

Malsdemare 12:09 PM  

@LMS, CDilly, petsounds, I'ma throwing this out because if I wait til I get through all the posts I will have forgotten everything. I'm a trail singer; lots of hiking spots around here that don't —at least in non-pandemic times— have many people on them. So I crank up the music (Fleetwood Mac, Temptations, actually anything you can run to), and let 'er loose. My aging vocal cords aren't as reliable as they once were so I've turned down the volume some, but I'm not sure my dog would know I was along if it weren't for my butchering "I will follow you."

Everything I might say about the puzzle has been said and, in many cases, much better. But I will go against the grain and say that the shaded REDs gave me the tiny leg up I needed. I got the themer early and putting in the REDS allowed me to see PREDATOR and I was on a roll.

Nice puzzle!

old timer 12:15 PM  

Hands up for having "ropes" before RODEO. And when it comes to crosswords, this is not my first RODEO. Always loved that one. Turn out I was a technical DNF having not finished the THENBA/TAB/RENT corner. I let it slide because I could not figure out what kind of RAY had only three letters. Oh! A BET RAY, denizen of deepest Las Vegas. I got AENEID easily though. Somewhere among my vast shelves of books is the Dryden version. And in Latin class long ago we had to memorize the first 30 lines or so, beginning with "Arma virumque cano". Years later I realized I would have enjoyed French instead, or, actually, Greek.

ELKS ia OK by me. One ELK, two ELKS. One of those words used as a singular plural when referring to a species you might hunt, or find in Yellowstone. You hunt bear or deer or ELK, but there are bears and elks and possums in the zoo. For some reason, not deers. You have to refer to stags or does or whatever.

Anonymous 12:25 PM  

I just reread a collection of letters between Rousseau and Louisa de Warren. Please tell me I'm not the only one who saw 57 down, Cougars' prey, and wrote in "boys."

Masked and Anonymous 12:33 PM  

A rare black-square-in-the center puzgrid. Actually, it wouldn't've taken many more blacksquares to completely rope off the NE half from the SW half. Coulda maybe done it thematically, with some REDs crossin BLACKs?

Any puz with RODEO in it is a winner in M&A's book. Chip in a colorful theme, and this puz rates a big thUmbsUp. Admirable REDCROSS revealer, as almost everyone has co-admired.

TOOHOT next to HADES seems pretty cool … er … apt.
staff weeject pick: RED. Btw -- that there OOXTEPLERNON god would have no part of EDEL, as it is one letter too long. Unless U are talkin about sacrificin a "D", to get EEL, of course.

@RP: yep. Most "THE+" answers do evince a faint Ow de Speration scent. They do add a certain challenge to the solvequest tho, since we often don't allow for it, at first poke.

@muse: whoa. M&A is no way goin to no NOHs, then. I can't even stand goin to any kind of live theater play, already. I think it's because I was forced to be in a dumb-by-even-grade-three-standards one in grade school, and now relive it in terror, when drug off to see a play. Would rather stay home and write a runt puzzle. Home. mm-mm.

Thanx, hue glee, Mr. Kingsley. Good job.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


thfenn 12:34 PM  

Really enjoyed this one, a perfect midday break having failed to get to it last night or this AM. Resisted GREENNOSER for a long time just because I'm very much in the "didn't know green and red makes brown" crowd. Mixing primary colors seems fair, and mixing anything with white is OK, but even with green being obvious I had no idea how to get brownNOSER for "sycophant". Like @LMS and others, went straight for some 4 letter word for young men, but fought off writing in "lads". Spent quite a bit of time in Lesotho, and closely follow the Orioles, so that was a great center line for me.

Whatsername 12:42 PM  

@brendal ((11:58) RED mixed with BLUE results in Purple [Heart].

What? 12:51 PM  

Yes, he picked them up by the ears, although just a few inches. He claimed the dogs liked it. If a dogs face can show annoyance, they didn’t.

Anonymous 12:54 PM  

One sheep, two sheeps...

What? 12:55 PM  


What? 12:57 PM  

I bet Shortz put in the circles

jberg 1:00 PM  

I'm noticing a lot of commenters knew all about EDEL, as did I, but fwiw you can also glue it as "German noble," or some more deceptive variation of that. And, as several have noted, ELKS is the proper plural for BPOE members. So we don't have to give up either of those words.

I enjoyed this puzzle except for about 10 minutes when I thought 30D was going to be red HOT, and hated it. Then I got the T from GROWTH, and liked it again.

I think that photo of lifting beagles by their ears was the second-most famous of LBJ, right after this one of his showing his abdominal scar to the press.

@Cdilly, that fascinating mini-bio had me trying to guess your true identity. That's too much like stalking, though, so I quit.

Teedmn 1:09 PM  

I actually remembered Tracy Gray and Jeff Chen's collab Sunday puzzle that had this theme while I was solving this today. Why so memorable? Because I got to talk to Tracy Gray at the ACPT about her puzzle the day it was published. She is just so nice. And I remember her saying, when working on the theme, that she kept going back to "black" and "white", trying to make them have a letter in common so she could use GRAY as one of the theme answers.

So this puzzle concept wasn't puzzling to me though I enjoyed the answers. But some of the cluing felt really off or vague. While I circled the clue for OPEDS, 32A, "Pieces that can go left or right" as a really nice clue because it had me thinking of a chess piece, the clue right above it was a WOE - I thought "Entrepreneur's goal" for GROWTH was UGH, as well as the clue "Just" for NEWLY. "Egg TOSS" is a thing?

Overall, Andrew Kingsley, I liked your puzzle because the theme REDEEMed it but there were some TRIALS I didn't appreciate.

Smith 1:21 PM  

Probably no go until Spring 2021 or when there's a reliable vaccine. Per our church's music director...

Joe Dipinto 1:35 PM  

I liked the Cryptogram today.

A scalding blast from 1980 (one of my fave grooves from that year).

webwinger 1:49 PM  

@Lorelei: There is a (somewhat) famous photo that shows Marilyn Monroe sitting in a park, wearing a skimpy sunsuit, and reading Ulysses. She appears to be about 5 pages from the end, i.e. could actually be reading Molly’s soliloquy. (Imagine hearing it in MM’s screen voice!) I just made it my avatar for the day, which unfortunately is too downsized to be fully appreciated, but if you google Ulysses Joyce Marilyn you will find it in all its glory…

@jberg: I too vividly remember both of those LBJ photos. Oh for the days when a president could find himself in hot water over such innocent little things!

@Frantic: Thanks for the tip re Noir Alley. Will check it out.

Streamed The Palm Beach Story (starring Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Mary Astor and Rudy Vallee; written and directed by Preston Sturges) last night, and LOL’d almost all the way through. (Some consider it to have been a precursor of Some Like it Hot—Marilyn again!) One of the great things about returning to the world of screwball (as well as noir) now is that many of the B&W classics have been beautifully restored (unfortunately One Rainy Afternoon remains an exception), and nearly all have closed captions.

Pamela 1:58 PM  

@lms- You outdid yourself yet again today! I haven’t even finished reading your post yet. But I did follow the link to Diva Florence FosterJenkins. Oh my! The first time I saw the movie with Meryl Streep, I couldn’t even react at first- my jaw was glued to the floor. On subsequent viewings, I ached all over from laughing until I couldn’t breathe. My mother was a church organist when I was young. My siblings and I would have to go early with her on Sundays so she could rehearse with the singers. As children, we were convulsed by the sounds of their warmups, and once home and out of earshot of my parents, would loudly imitate the worst of them, warble and all. So today, Queen of the Night was delicious. Thank you!

Carol S. 1:59 PM  

@Kathy - MD and music teacher here. No go at the moment per ACDA/NATS webinar - latest data.

I'm super grumpy today because I'm having to face the consequences of 7 weeks of desk work and stress eating :)... but... I hated this puzzle - THENBA, EDEL, ECOLAW, UPTO, PRE, UGH, MBA, EDNA, ISEE (?), (egg) TOSS (?), OAT milk (groan), TYPEAB (groan), TAB, THEE, ELKS (that plural sucks bad), ROONE (who the hell knows the names of TV executives? Who cares?).

A few cuties that mitigated their respective crosswordese: OCD (but referencing Jack Nicholson), OWIE (adorable), BAE (which is about as hip as 1996 - IRONIC - but at least it's post 1960), EST (decently cute clue), RONDO(S) - love the music clue, but super awkward as a plural, SEAM (interesting mining reference that I had to infer).

And... an ARIA *is* a solo. When more than one person sings, it is referred to that way (DUETTO, TRIO, TERZETTO etc.). So that clue is B&*(())T.

barrywep 2:03 PM  

Agree we need a new person to refresh Edel. Like Shinzo did for ABE

egsforbreakfast 2:15 PM  

If there are any remaining naysayers regarding elks, I direct you to bend, which is the website of the Bend Elks, which is a founding member of the West Coast League, a College summer wood bat baseball league. Now these college age Elks are probably pretty tempting prey for the local cougars.

Since movies and books get discussed so much on this crossword blog, can we please adopt the convention of headlining such posts with “Movie Alert” and “Book Alert”?

tea73 2:23 PM  

I really liked the idea of the puzzle, but as a watercolorist I was put off by cross number one. My favorite mix of RED (Alizarin Crimson) and GREEN (Thalo Green) make a gorgeous black. And of course if you are mixing light they make YELLOW.

I remembered LBJ's dogs names because 1) They are weird, 2) They appear in puzzles pretty regularly and 3) I saw the exhibit of Presidential Pets at the Newseum in DC back in January.

fiddleneck 2:25 PM  

Those who are too young to know the names of LBJ’s dogs should also know Fala, FDR’s dog and Checkers, Nixon;s, though Checkers lisn’t so frequent for crossword solvers.

syracusesolver 2:56 PM  

I agree with all who enjoyed this puzzle. I also agree with those who would have preferred to leave the REDs uncircled/unshaded and the asterisks out. The revealer was sufficient, especially since the REDs were all crossed in their center. Thursday's "trick" should not be made obvious as that’s the crux of the puzzle. If memory serves, there have been several puzzles on various days in the recent past with too much of this sort of "help."

I’ve been lurking here for years and besides the comments on the puzzles, I have very much appreciated the book/movie/music, etc. recommendations. Now it’s my turn. I especially liked Anne Tyler's latest novel, REDhead by the Side of the Road.

Anonymous 3:00 PM  

Loved this!

Maddiegail 3:13 PM  


Anonymous 3:16 PM  


Maddiegail 3:17 PM  

The "YES!" was meant for TJS @ 9:00 AM

Anonymous 3:26 PM  

Yeah but... Checkers was the 'name' of the speech Nixon had to deliver to get his ass out of hot water long before Watergate took him down. The second most famous dog behind Asta. Not to forget the cloth coat.

pabloinnh 3:46 PM  

@Kathy (and other songsters)-This weekend was to be the spring concert for the 20-voice choral group I sing in. Cancelled. No word about a startup. I've uploaded a couple of solo things to our church's virtual service, and our Monday night hootenanny group is doing a Zoom hookup. It's better than nothing, although only marginally, because when other folks are doing a number you have to mute your mic--time delay interference just makes it weird(no harmonizing, nobody takes a solo on a break, and so on). Like lots of you, I'm really missing singing. It's pretty much what I do in retirement.

Rug Crazy 3:46 PM  

Loe it. Agree with all of Rex'e nits, though I new saw EDEL, and still haven't looked it up.FUN!

Unknown 3:48 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle very much, good theme, and fun fill. For me to finish a Thursday NYT puzzle in less than 10 minutes is very good.

Unknown 3:53 PM  

So happy that you have to tell us daily about your run, not so much.

Barbara S. 4:35 PM  

@Nancy 11:18
Excellent! You're on! And I don't know why I've haven't grasped your singing prowess before now. (Speaking of musicals, I can never hear the word "prowess" without thinking
But I could show my prowess
Be a lion not a "mowess"
If I only had the nerve)

I have a suggestion for our first duet, if you like Lerner and Loewe. It strikes me as a good antidote for the times in which we live.

Tra la, it's May, the lusty month of May
That lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray
Tra la, it's here, that shocking time of year
When tons of wicked little thoughts merrily appear.

@Lorelei Lee 11:59
I hope you enjoy the Edel. Fascinating lot, those Bloomsburians.

Anoa Bob 4:38 PM  

I join all those who thought the theme was top notch, and like lots of yous, it had a personal connection for me. When I was teaching Sensation & Perception (my favorite course), we discussed all things color vision related, including color mixing.

I might add that the color mixing going on here is "subtractive" color mixing, like what happened when @Nancy mixed her paints. The other type is "additive". It's when different colored lights overlap. If all colors of a pigment are mixed, you get black. If all colors of light are mixed, you get white.

@Frantic, I usually put POC in blue, as I just did. Clicking on it will open a blog page on the topic.

I think about a plural of convenience much as I do about abbreviations, partials, random Roman numerals, random Popes, etc. Almost every puzzle will have some. When they are used excessively they become intrusive and detract from the puzzle's overall value for me.

Today's grid, e.g., has a fair share of POCs, including a couple of the "two POCs with one S" variety. (Hint: lower, right-most corner) I would rate this grid as POC assisted.

Japanese, the language, has no plurals. (I agree with @lms' sentiments; Just say No to Noh)

webwinger 5:04 PM  

Regarding some of the comments about mixing pigments, you do need to be careful when combining complementary colors to avoid ending up with gray or black, rather than, say, brown. If you choose hues that are not exactly opposite each other in color space or make sure the mix is weighted toward one of them you should be all right.

Demonstrating the effects of combining light of different colors always seems to amaze. We’ve become very accustomed to seeing blue and yellow pigment combine to make green, even though green is a fundamentally different color sensation than either blue or yellow; same with red and yellow for orange, red and blue for purple. But seeing yellow in the overlap of red and green light spots, or white at the intersection of two complementary or three primary colors—that comes off as magical. This is not BTW a consequence of any physical property of light, but of the fact that the visual system generates all color sensations starting with input in different proportions from three sets of cone photoreceptors containing pigments with different spectral sensitivity distributions—the trichromacy of vision.

True story: When I was in college a classmate was desperately trying to get a psych disqualification from the draft. He dyed his skin completely green before reporting for his physical. As he was biking there, a kid stopped him and asked, How did you get to be green? He answered, My father was blue and my mother was yellow.

Richardf8 5:09 PM  

Marc Maron is a local radio personality here. Hosts one of our Morning Zoo shows. So yeah, I got it handily and will not recommend his podcasts.

Kathy 5:14 PM  

@carol s, @smith. Thank you for your input. Coincidentally our Chorus Director sent out an email this afternoon detailing the webinar and it’s conclusions. As much as it breaks our hearts, we will wait until there is a vaccine. Group singing is dangerous right now, especially for our chorus the majority of whose members are over 50. And we can’t sing with masks. It’s not hysteria, it’s science. I’m willing to accept that.

@pabloinnh, I have heard of the shortcomings of group singing on Zoom. As far as I’m concerned, harmonizing is everything, so I’ve passed on these opportunities. Like you, chorus is my favorite retirement activity.

Alas, we even had a gig at Carnegie Hall scheduled for April, now postponed until April 2021—and who even knows what will be happening then? We were going to perform Kim Andre Arnesen’s Magnificat under the direction of Anton Armstrong. NYC’s performance venues and Broadway have been devastated, not to mention the hotels and restaurants. Given these guidelines, which pertain to musical theater as well, who knows when they will be back?

webwinger 5:16 PM  

@Barbara 4:35: Posting this separately, in case the mods are not amused: My college yearbook from 1969 became known as a classic distillation of late 1960s student culture. It comprised a number of photoessays devoted to various aspects of campus life (sex, drugs, etc.) with captions that in many instances skirted the bounds of propriety. My favorite, superimposed on an idyllic shot of a popular local make-out nook: “Spring is the thing that puts spring in your thing…”

JC66 5:25 PM  


Couldn't disagree with you more.I'm a big fan or MARC Maron's podcast and recommend WTF highly.

Joe Dipinto 5:45 PM  

All of my choir's rehearsals and weekly mass performances have been cancelled since the first week of March. We had an Irish concert scheduled for March, a performance at St. Patrick's Cathedral lined up, and a season-ending annual "cabaret", none of which happened/will happen. The church has been posting a Mass on Sundays and holy days on YouTube, with the pastor officiating and two of our choir members participating, in the empty church.

Barbara S. 6:04 PM  

@webwinger 5:16

@webwinger 5:04
That guy sounds like a worthy precursor or successor to Cpl. Klinger. Did his ploy work?

GILL I. 6:07 PM  

I sing loudly in the shower...You should hear me....AAAAAVE MAAAARIA.

burtonkd 6:36 PM  

Involved as conductor or accompanist for community, church and school choirs. @Kathy, I work with DCINY from time to time and had 3 events with them cancelled (or possibly postponed). We'll see what happens to school choir in the fall. At 53, I'm the young whippersnapper director for my community chorus, so that one could be a while. Church is on zoom, just me singing at my piano, rather than playing the pipe organ at church.
I am fortunate that most of my work continued or was at least compensated so far: concerned since this isn't tenable longterm...

A group called C4 is doing a live performance tonight using technology to perform synchronously. Looking forward to see how this works. Here's hoping since zoom is impossible for this purpose.

@JC66, agreed about Marc Maron's podcast. I go in and out of being in the mood for him. He can be very sensitive and thought provoking in a way that draws interesting things out of his guests. His opening monologues can be much those of one who's emotional growth stopped in middle school.

Dan 7:08 PM  

The fact that Dryden's far MORE famous translation of Book I of the Illiad fit with the D in White Lady let me hopeless to finish at any reasonable pace...

JC66 7:30 PM  


I use Overcast, which allows me to fast forward through the "junk."

Unknown 8:11 PM

burtonkd 8:15 PM  

@JC66, does Overcast do anything other than have a slider you can move over? You can skip, but have to guess? I use podcast addict, but looks like I may be heading to Spotify. Some other podcasts put the times in the description for their topics.

JC66 8:26 PM  


There's a button that allows you to fast forward 30 seconds at a time and another to rewind 7 seconds at a time. It also allows you to set the "speed" so an hour only takes 50 minutes, or less.

pabloinnh 8:27 PM  

@Kathy-I sincerely hope you have a chance to realize your Carnegie Hall gig. The traveling choir I sang with in college did this during my junior year, when I was in Spain. so I missed it. We sang in Parliament in Ottawa and the State House in Boston, and were on tv back when being on tv was somewhat unusual, but hey--Carnegie Hall! How cool can it be to say,yeah, I sang at Carnegie Hall.

Hope you have another chance. Singing abides.

Bruce Fieggen 8:32 PM  

Thanks Jon.
As a born Kiwi who grew up listening to the Finns I appreciated Rex’s video choice.

ss 8:44 PM  

I fully agree with JHC and Jeremy on the PRE/HER unforced error (an "unforced natick" would be a good term here). I filled in PRU and HUR because I thought maybe LBJ had a pair of dogs named Ben and Hur and Pru sounded French (Canadian). Grrr

TedInSaltLakeCity 10:20 PM  



thefogman 10:25 AM  

One of the best themes in a long time. Well done Andrew Kingsley.

RONDO 10:25 AM  

Hey, ISEE THAT RONDOS in the puz! Happens about once a year. And it's also a part of the REDCROSS on BLUEHEART. Also on a day with NOH yeah BAE BAE. The four corners will get you to first BASE, Kemo SABE. At least one reason for me to like this puz ATTHAT.

Burma Shave 11:26 AM  




Diana, LIW 1:30 PM  

Today I'm just a couple fries short of the happy dance. Tho getting the "reds" and the theme early on helped with most of the puz. Asked Mr. W about the drink as he's been studying his bartender's guide lately. He came up with "Seabreeze," which I roundly panned as a "never heard of it." Glad I did that.

Today the puz says hello to @Rondo!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for RedCrosswords

rainforest 1:58 PM  

Emerging from "lurker" mode just to say that I've really enjoyed the puzzle of the last 7 or so days, and I thought this one was excellent: theme, revealer, fill, clues, construction. One write-over: IPA over "ale".

GREEN NOSER confounded me until I got to the revealer, and then - Aha! The other themers were fun to figure out after that. Lots of clever clues to deal with, one of my favourites was the Jazz group and THE NBA was a great answer (and it had to have THE).

ECOLAW was key to getting WHITE LADY as I momentarily forgot pink LADY, a disgusting libation anyway.

Parts of this were challenging, but overall I'd say 'medium', but great entertainment, I'd say.

rondo 4:39 PM  

BTW - I think birthday salutations are in order for @spacey. A number divisible by ten, no? Happy Birthday.

leftcoaster 4:54 PM  

Took some time to get a foothold and see what was going on with the theme.

Getting each of the themers evoked a nice "aha" feeling. The REDs and their CROSSes were gimmes. All came together in a neat package.

Had (out-of-sequence) wealth before GROWTH for the entrepreneur; considered Liberia (not landlocked) before LESOTHO; and thought Yoko ONO would not likely appreciate being called a "singer whose name sounds like a cry of horror."

Finally, have to mention Molly Bloom's more intriguing cries of YESES that nicely wrapped up the puzzle.

spacecraft 6:36 PM  

Tomorrow, @RONDO, fourscore. Yikes! Thanks for the shoutout. So, green + red =BROWN?? Who knew? I liked it, though. So did OFC. Yikes deux!! 'Twas different, and different is good, per Phil Connors on Feb. 3. The only WHITELADY I can think of is Vanna, and if she can't be DOD, then no one can. Solid birdie.

Jeff (not Leonard) 11:19 PM  

Marc Maron hasn’t been a radio personality of any sort in nearly two decades. I will recommend his podcasts.

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